While one can see some original fixtures like the bar, chandeliers and wall mirrors that speak to a previous incarnation of a pub - the Sticky Wicket presently offers a lowest common denominator experience that every other room in the Strathcona seems to share (with the exception of Big Bad Johns, which remains one of the best-value drinking holes in Victoria).
We ordered a pint of Guinness and a pint of Kilkenny, and when the Guinness came in less than 20 seconds we knew that although we were seated at the bar - something was amiss. Clearly the bartender cared more about watching the game on the massive big screens than properly pouring a Guinness (which should take about a minute to do). I could understand if it was smoking busy, but there were only a handful of customers at the bar, all of whom were nursing relatively full drinks.
The former ambiance (I do remember when the Sticky Wicket was more pub-like back in the 90s) has been washed out by the light pollution of big screen TVs on all sides, which have rendered the Sticky Wicket's most authentic room a clash of cultures (if UK football was screened it would be much more tolerable than NBA and fight night). The other rooms no longer connect to the bar area in terms of aesthetic flow - and without the link to the heritage aspects around the bar, have the feel of a family restaurant - like a Denny's if Denny's had a bit more budget for wood fixtures.
Speaking of Denny's - I guess the decorum in the other main L-shaped room is appropriate, given the sad decline of food at the Sticky Wicket (although friends who grew up here have said the food has always been of a low calibre). The pub natchos were drab compared to other Victoria restaurants, which is pretty bad because quality pub natchos are a tall order in this city for some reason.
Value for the money? Meh. The "pints" we ordered were served in "sleeves" (I think bar staff should specify when customers order "pints" that they only serve beer in smaller sleeve glasses) - so instead of $7.50 like at Irish Times for a true 500 ml pint of Guinness, we paid $5.50 for what was surely less than 400 ml. I suspect these sleeves were designed to hold a 355ml can of beer. The food, however, costs about the same as any other pub in town - and is thus not good value for the money.
I guess the transition to a "something-for-everybody" sort of philosophy has worked for the Strathcona marketing strategy, but it's sapped the cultural experience out of what used to be a nice room. You'd think the sports-bar thing could have been left to the Clubhouse and rooftop venue and games room. I assume when Irish Times opened much of their clientele seeking a more authentic UK pub experience shifted over, with Smiths Pub and The Bard & Banker hammering the final nails in the coffin.
As we left, American cock-rock started blaring over a PA system as a final reminder as to why we won't come back.
Went to the Sticky Wicket the other night for a few pints with a group of about 15 after a meeting. Great service all evening. Even though all separate bills not a word of complaint or the slightest grumbling. That in itself is noteworthy.
Food was actually pretty decent, too. Had lamb shank which was tasty but could have stood another 30 minutes of slow cooking (would then have been almost falling off the bone). Under $30 (including tax, pre tip) for three pints plus dinner.
A lot of people like this place and I've never known why. The few times I've been there the food is overcooked and bland. Service is OK and the atmosphere is way too dark and dreary. There are no interesting food selections, it's all burgers and chicken strips. I guess that is traditional pub fare but every other pub seems to jazz it up a bit and add some more interesting things to the menu, but not this place.
Great portions, reasonable prices, flavorful food and good service! I had the Bangers and Mash, my husband had the steak and we both thoroughly enjoyed the meal. The menu has traditional pub fare, along with some more exotic dishes so there is something for everyone. Definitely will go back when I'm in Victoria!
We went to this pub specifically to go up to the roof top surf patio.
We weren't allowed to go in, the hostess told us that they were changing servers over from the day to night shift so they weren't letting anyone in for at least 1/2 hour. What?
Well, we were hungry and we needed to catch the ferry, so we went to the downstairs portion.
Our waitress asked us if we wouldn't rather go to the upstairs patio and we then explained what happened. She was upset and told us that she would be speaking to them later.
As stated we were in a hurry to catch the ferry and our waitress was awesome. She went and got BC Ferries number for us so we could call and see if there was an 8pm sailing or not. There wasn't, so she put a rush on our food and got us our bill promptly.
The food. I had a bison burger with pecan crusted goat cheese. It was fabulous, cooked perfectly and I really enjoyed it despite being in a bit of a rush.
Maybe next time we'll try to get into the surf patio a little earlier in the day.
Went to Victoria for a mid-week vacation from Vancouver for just the spouse and I, so we were focusing on the activities kids wouldn't enjoy: walking around shopping, museums, etc. But we also focused on the kid-free downtime: pubs and higher-end restaurants.
The Sticky Wicket is large, but is broken up to feel like much cozier places. It was not at all busy when we were there (granted, both times we went were in the after-lunch/before-dinner lull), so the service was not an issue. Had the yam fries for a starter (good, but not fantastic), followed by the pulled pork sandwich (not overly sweet sauce; best pulled pork I've had in BC). Sleeves of import draught were on special for $4.25, which seemed a good value.
What really did it for me was the ambiance. The Sticky Wicket is almost the perfect pub atmosphere: lots of wood and comfortable seats. I'd like to go back when it was busier to see if the waitstaff can stand up to a rush, but for a leisurely afternoon with a couple of pints, it would be great.
Now if we could just get more of this type of place in Vancouver, I'd be a happy man.